What is a Visitor Visa?

Last updated on December 19th, 2022 at 11:41 pm

A visitor visa is granted to a foreigner whose aim is to travel to another country for sightseeing, casual visit, holiday, and for relaxation purposes.

Purposes of visitor visa

  • Conference
  • Medical tourism (for treatment)
  • Vacation/holiday
  • Sports events (football, athletic etc)
  • Attraction places
  • Business meetings (meeting with business partners or sign a business contract etc)

Are visitor and tourist visa the same?

Visitor visa is also called tourist visa in some countries because the purpose is to visit attractions places of another country.

For instance, a foreign who wants to visit top attraction places in the United States like the National Mall in Washington DC, Statue of Liberty in New York City, and the Grand Canyon in Arizona would only need a visitor visa.

What is the duration of a visitor visa?

The duration of visitor visa varies from country to country. For instance, tourist visa in the US last for 90 days or less.

Below is the duration of a tourist visa in some countries around the world:

CountryDuration of tourist visa
US90 days or less
Greece3 months
Canada6 months
Italy3 months
Germany90 days
Spain3 months
The Bahamas3 months
Ireland90 days
Australia90 days
Aruba180 days
UAE90 days
South Africa90 days
Jamaica90 days
Hong Kong180 days
Philippines59 days
Costa Rica90 days
Thailand60 days
Taiwan90 days
Brazil90 days
The UK6 months
Long-term Standard Visitor visa:
2 years,
5 years,
10 years

The UK Visitor Visa

The UK government allows regular visitor to apply for what the country calls a long-term Standard Visitor visa which can last two, five or 10 years.

US Visitor Visa

In the United States, visitor visas are nonimmigrant visas which are designed to foreign travelers who want to enter the US for two temporarily broadly divided into:

  1. Business
  2. Tourism


In the US, the business visitor falls under visa category B-1. The purpose of this visa covers:

  • Someone who wants to come to the US to consult with their business associates
  • A traveler who wants to attend a scientific, professional, and educational
  • Someone who wants to negotiate a contract
  • Settle an estate


This is falls under visa category B-2. This covers the following:

  • Tourism
  • Holiday
  • Medical treatment
  • Visit with friends or relatives
  • Participation in social events hosted by fraternal, social, or service organizations
  • Participating in sports events
  • Recreational course of study that is not for credit toward a degree

Note: Visitor and business visa in the United States are called nonimmigrant visa

Limitation of Visitor Visa

There are some travel missions that visitor visa doesn’t cover. You can hide under tourist visa to undergo a full-fledged degree programme.

Here are activities that require different categories of visas and that cannot be done with a visitor visa:

  1. Job opportunity or employment
  2. Degree programme or study
  3. Paid performances, or any professional performance before a paying audience
  4. Arrival as a crew member on a ship or aircraft
  5. Work as foreign press
  6. Finally, a visitor visa doesn’t give the applicants US Permanent residency

Any traveler who uses visitor visa to perform other mission will be deported.

Method of Application:

Application is done online, may have to attend a visa interview on a scheduled date in some countries. For the US, details of the application process can be found on U.S Department of State.

It is important to point out that some countries have immigration agreement that allows them to enter one another without a visa. For instance, an Italian travelling to the U.S doesn’t need a visa and could stay up to three months.


Visitor visa is aknown as a tourist visa and it is designed for foreigners who want to visit another country for a very short period for sightseeing, medical, and business-related meetings.

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